Characteristics of patients presenting to an after-hours clinic: Results of a MAGNET analysis

Lyle R. Turner, Christopher Pearce, Madeleine Borg, Adam McLeod, Marianne Shearer, Danielle Mazza

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5 Citations (Scopus)


After-hours access to general practice (GP) is critical to supporting accessibility and reducing emergency department demand. To understand who utilises after-hours GP services, this study examined the characteristics of presentations to an Eastern Melbourne after-hours clinic between 2005 and 2014. Descriptive analyses of patient and presentation characteristics, diagnoses, medications and pathology were conducted. Across the study period, 39.1% of presentations to the clinic (N≤64,800) were by patients under 18 years of age. Females were found to attend more often than males, and nearly 79% of patients attended only once. The most common diagnoses were respiratory system diseases (13.4%), gastrointestinal system diseases (12.6%) and eye and ear problems (11.6%). Antibacterial medications accounted for over half (53.0%) of all prescriptions, with 34% of antibiotics prescribed to patients under 18 years of age. Seasonal variation in GP demand was also observed. Presenting patients differed from the wider GP patient population, with more young patients, and a higher proportion of prescriptions for antibacterial medications compared to other predominantly non-after-hours practices. Further research is required to understand the health-seeking, decision-making of patients who utilise after-hours GPs over predominantly non-after-hours primary care services, to inform service promotion and delivery strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)294-299
Number of pages6
JournalAustralian Journal of Primary Health
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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